Amoeblog

New York State Of Mind #100 of 100

Posted by Billyjam, October 8, 2014 01:30pm | Post a Comment


Welcome to the final installment in the one hundred part weekly New York State of Mind (NYSOM) Amoeblog series that began two years ago. For this 100th Amoeblog I want to run down some events happening in the coming days/weeks ahead as well as include a random series of NYC themed music videos that I have not yet included in the many NYC music videos already posted to this Amoeblog series. Ongoing events of interest include the Greenpoint, Brooklyn weekly No Lights No Lycra (NLNL) which is happens Tuesday evenings for a little over an hour in a church basement hall is the total antithesis of the overpriced bottle-service night clubs of Manhattan. Founded in New Zealand and with satellite parities like this one in Brooklyn dotted round the globe (Chicago and San Francisco are the other two spots in the US), the rules of NLNL are simple and straightforward and posted by the door upon entry. "No watching, no cell phones, no breakdancing" is what is not allowed. What is allowed/encouraged is to make a dancing and having fun - in near darkness except for a dimly lit ceiling light show that takes your eyes a couple of minutes to adjust to.

On the night I attended NLNL the dance music played by the non-billed DJ (a guy dancing who routinely ran over to hit play for the next song off his iPhone that was plugged into the decent sound system) ranged from trap to deep house to past decades pop hits such as Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen," Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al," Dr. Dre2Pac's "California Luv," Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance," and The Cardigans' "Love Fool." NLNL, NYC happens every Tuesday from 8.15pm – 9.30pm at 129 Russell St, Brooklyn, NY 11222. No alcohol. All ages. $5 donation. More info here.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #94: AfroPunk Festival, DMC US Finals, Charlie Parker Jazz Fest, Outdoor Movie Screenings

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2014 12:38pm | Post a Comment

Back in 2007, I interviewed James Spooner, maker of the 2003 documentary Afro-Punk, about the  AFROPUNK Festival, which was directly inspired by his film. The director/producer told me that he never dreamed that his passionately produced, low-budget documentary would go on to  jump-start a burgeoning cultural movement, inspire the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) annual arts festival, and name him as its co-curator.

"Afro-Punk was a film about being a black punk rocker in a white world. And we had a really good few screenings at BAM.... that escalated into doing a series with a bunch of other films that evoked the same feeling of black thinking or black rebellion all telling the 'other' black story," Spooner told me at the time, adding that the folks at BAM had the idea of building a whole festival out of it. Now in its tenth year, AFROPUNK Festival has grown exponentially into a much bigger and broader event with a lineup that is off the hook and transcends the subgenre that gave it its name.  





James Spooner's "Afro-Punk" 2003 documentary that inspired the AFROPUNK Festival


Among the myriad of diverse acts scheduled for this year's festival, are Bad Brains and Fishbone - both of whom were in Spooner's documentary - along with such others as  Meshell Ndegeocello, The Internet, Body Count, the Cro-Mags, CX KiDTRONiK, D'Angelo, The Bots, Trash Talk, SZA, Alice Smith, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings King Britt, and tons more. The newly-expanded AFROPUNK festival includes, in addition to punk, lots of DJs and producers performing. This year presents a special Tribute to DJ Rashad - the  influential late Chicago footwork producer who died back in April. Performing will be members of Rashad's Teklife crew, Chicago footwork pioneer RP Boo, Dance Mania ghetto-house originator DJ Deeon, Lit City Trax founder DJ J-Crush, and The Era dance crew from Chicago.  Another sign of the expanding festival is the newly added AFROPUNK AFTER DARK, which organizers say, aims to transform the neighborhoods of Brooklyn into a captivating playground of music and culture events in venues starting at 10:00pm and including the Black Weirdo party and King Britt's celebration of Sun Ra's centennial, The Beautiful Noise.  The AFROPUNK Festival 2014 happens this Saturday and Sunday (August 23rd & 24th) at Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park and other locations. For full listings and ticket information click here.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #93: Jeff Koons, Shadow & Cut Chemist, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Subway Token Sucking +

Posted by Billyjam, August 13, 2014 12:13pm | Post a Comment


People seem to either love him or hate him (or are jealous of all the money he makes) but they all know who he is; American artist Jeff Koons whose instantly identifiable, simple-yet expensive, balloon-animal like, large scale sculptures made of stainless steel sell in the tens of millions of dollars. One of his pieces sold at a NYC auction last year for $58.4 million!  For a lot less money, now thru October October 19th, you can get to see his art up and close and personal and judge its value for itself for the ongoing Jeff Koons: A Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. With a total of 120 works by Koons on display this Whitney exhibit, which opened in late June, is the most comprehensive retrospective curated of the living artist to date (in fact there hasn't been a full show on his overall body of work in two decades) and as such is well worth visiting.  Spanning various mediums - not just sculpture - Koons work on exhibit includes such iconic works by the pop artist as the gaudy yet popular Michael Jackson and Bubbles (right), Balloon Dog, as well as the premiere exhibition of such new Koons pieces as the unveiling of his large scale Play-Doh that he's reportedly been busy working on for over twenty years. The Whitney Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11am to 6pm and is located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York, NY 10021. For general info click here. And for info on free tours here.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #91: Photo Edition + Concert Guide

Posted by Billyjam, July 30, 2014 01:40pm | Post a Comment

For this week's installment of the New York State of Mind Amoeblog I have included a bunch of photos (above/left/below)  that I took all round town (mostly Manhattan and mostly over the past week or two - but some other times/boroughs too including the one in the Bronx above) and if you drag the mouse icon on top of each image you will see embedded text that accompanies the respective images.  Meanwhile some of the events and happenings in NYC in the week ahead include later today (July 30th) Lisette Melendez, George Lamond, and Coro who are masters of the hip-hop/disco born genre known as freestyle: the synth-based dance music which combines the influence of Afrika Bambaataa’s electro-funk flavor (note that Bambaataa is presenting this concert today) with Latin rhythms, and European Hi-NRG vocals.  Free. All ages. 7pm to 9pm sharp. At Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. Part of the NYC Summerstage series. Free ferry ride from lower Manhattan to Staten Island takes about half hour including wait for boat, followed by short bus ride. More info

On Saturday afternoon in the same Summerstage series will be a killer free show in Central Park at 3pm with Dr John & The Night Trippers. Opening for the New Orleans legend will be the New Orleans influenced Hurray for the Riff Raff which is the creation of frontwoman Alynda lee Segarra, a 26-year-old Bronx native who traveled to New Orleans to hone her musical chops. This is a free show but arrive an hour or more before the official 3pm opening time to ensure admission. More info.

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